CHURCH CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS
We, the members of Abundant Life Baptist Church do submit ourselves to the following articles, which establish our church doctrine, form of church government, and policies, to aid the members in the founding of a New Testament Church.
Article I: NAME
The name of the church shall be Abundant Life Baptist Church.
Article II: OBJECT
The object of the church is the evangelization of unbelievers, baptizing of professing believers, defending of the faith, and edification of those who have professed faith in Jesus Christ.
Article III: STATEMENT OF FAITH
Abundant Life Baptist Church adheres to the following doctrinal positions:
- The infallibility, inerrancy, and verbal inspiration of the Bible. (II Peter 1:21, II Tim 3: 16) We hold solely to the Authorized King James Version of 1611.
- The belief in the Trinity, one God in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Matt 28:19,I John 5:7)
- The eternal Deity of Jesus Christ. (John 3:16, Heb 13:8, Rev 1:8, Rev 1:18)
- The virgin birth of Jesus Christ (Isa 7:14, Luke 1:27)
- The sinless humanity of Jesus Christ. (Heb 4:15)
- The substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. (Rom 5:6,8, I John 2:2)
- The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. (John 20: 26-28, Luke 24:39)
- The personal, premillenial, pre tribulational second coming of Jesus Christ (Acts 1:11, I Thes 4:16-17, Rev 20)
- Salvation by grace, through faith, without works. (Eph 2:8-9, Titus 3:5)
- The powers of Christ’s blood to save and cleanse from sin. (Col 1:14, I Peter 1:18-19, Eph 1:7)
- Every believer is indwelt with, and sealed by, the Holy Spirit upon receiving Christ, and that the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit for service. We believe that the Holy Spirit today bestows gifts for service upon believers, but that the sign gifts were restricted to the apostolic period. (Romans 8:9, 10:44, Eph 1:13, 4: 11-12, I Cor 13: 8-13)
- The eternal bliss of believers in resurrection bodies. (I Cor: 15:51-57, I Thes 4:16-17)
- The eternal damnation in hell of all those who reject Christ. (John 3:36, Rev 20:11-15)
- The free offer of salvation, without limit to the atonement. (John 3:16, II Peter 3:9, I Tim 2:4, I John 2:2)
- The eternal security of the believer. (John 3:16, 10:28)
- We believe that the local church is a body of believers that meet together to worship God, to receive instruction, to observe the Christian ordinances, and to render whatever service the gospel requires; and that the local church is autonomous, directly responsible to Christ the Church’s head (Acts 2:38, 4 1-47; I Corinthians11: 17-34; Ephesians 1:1-2; 4:1l-16).
- The Ordinances of the church are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is an act of obedience, a sign of faith, and a witness of salvation. In it, a believer in Christ follows Him by being immersed in water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as a witness of the believer’s identification with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. There is no Saving Power in the act or the water, but it is a sign and symbol only. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial observation of that which the Savior did with His disciples on the night He was betrayed. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is intended to commemorate His death and confirm the bond of communion of the Holy Spirit between believers and between Christ and His Church. (Matt. 28:19, Acts 10:48, Rom. 6:3, Col. 2:12, Gal. 2:16; I Cor. 11:23-29, Heb. 9:26-28, 10:12-14)
- The Genesis account of creation, to be accepted literally, and not allegorically or figuratively. The direct creation of man in God’s own image and after his own likeness, man’s creation not being a matter of evolution or evolutionary change of species or development through interminable periods of time from lower to higher forms; the direct creation of all animal and vegetable life and God’s established law that they should bring forth only “ after their kind.” (John 1:1-4, Heb 11:3, Gen 1:1, 11, 21-27, 2:7, 21:23)
- We believe that Satan is a person. He is the unholy god of this age, the prince of the power of the air, and the prince of this world. The Devil was a murderer from the beginning. He is a liar and the father of lies. There is absolutely no truth in him. He is the enemy of God and man and the author of all the power of darkness. He is a deceiver and blinds the minds of men to the end that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ may not dawn upon them. He is destined to the judgment of an eternal justice in the lake of fire. (John 8:44; John 16:11; Ephesians 2:2; II Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:10)
- The command to evangelize all nations. (Acts 1:8, Matt 28: 19-20)
- The one body of Christ consisting of all believers regardless of color, race, or standing. (I Cor 12:13, Col 1:18, Gal 3:28)
- The imminent and personal return of the Lord Jesus Christ to take his Body unto Himself before the tribulation and to set up His kingdom on the earth after the tribulation. (I Thes 4:16-17, Rev 11:15)
Article IV: CHURCH COVENANT
Having been led by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour, and on profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we do now, in the presence of God and this assembly, most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with each other as a local assembly of the body of Christ. We shall ever seek to allow the Holy Spirit full freedom to do His work of convicting, converting, cleansing, empowering, teaching, comforting, and guiding.
We determine, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that ours shall be a faith that is balanced in every area of life; that we shall maintain a spiritual walk in practical matters as well as spiritual matters. With the help of God, we shall strive for our services to be fervent and scriptural; for every member to be a witness, and every preacher to preach of the whole counsel of God.
We determine to walk together in Christian love; to work for the advancement of this church in holiness, knowledge of God’s Word, and soul winning; to be faithful in its worship, ordinances, discipline, preaching of the truth and doctrines; to give cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, to the relief of the poor, and to the spread of the gospel throughout the world.
We determine to maintain personal and family devotions and to train our children in the fear of the Lord; to seek the salvation of our loved ones and acquaintances; to live separated from that which is worldly; to be honest and faithful in our business; to walk daily in a manner that honors the Lord Jesus Christ, and to avoid participation in activities that would bring reproach to His name; to be zealous in our love and service for the Lord; to discern our spiritual gifts and employ them in this local church.
Article V: MEMBERSHIP
A. Membership shall be open to all those who:
1. Have been born again through faith in Jesus Christ
2. Have been baptized by immersion, by a local church, following salvation.
3. Seek to live a Christ honoring life
4. Are in agreement with the Covenant, Constitution, and Articles of Faith of this church
B. Candidates for membership shall publicly present themselves during a church invitation.
C. All candidates for church membership shall be interviewed by the pastor and or deacons prior to being
recommended to the church. Membership candidates must give satisfactory evidence of their conversion, baptism, and acceptance of the church constitution and articles of faith.
D. Candidates for membership must be approved by a majority vote of the existing membership.
E. Membership is not open to individuals living in a state of unrepentant sin including but not limited to homosexuals, or heterosexuals who are cohabiting together without being
Article VI: CHURCH DISCIPLINE
A. All church discipline will be conducted using the procedure outlined in Matthew 18: 15-17
B. The ultimate goal of church discipline is restoration. (Gal 6:1)
C. Any unscriptural attitude, action or violation of the church covenant may be deemed sufficient cause for discipline. The pastor and deacons shall initially handle situations, which may require disciplinary action, confidentially, prior to presenting the matter to the congregation. Discipline may include loss of office, placement on the inactive list, or dismissal from membership. Dismissal from membership shall be by majority vote of the church.
D. Those members who have been absent from the services of the church for 6 months shall be placed on the inactive membership list, and will lose their voting privileges.
E. Persons on the inactive list who desire to be restored, as active members must meet with the pastor and deacons and give evidence of a repentant attitude and renewed interest. Inactive members can only be restored to full membership after being recommended by the pastor and deacons.
F. Persons who remain on the inactive list for 6 months will be removed from membership at the next quarterly business meeting.
Article VII: CHURCH ORDINANCES
Those professing faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior shall, upon authorization of the church, be immersed in water by the pastor or someone appointed by the church. This church shall not baptize infants.
2: The Lord’s Supper:
The Lord’s Supper shall be served at regular intervals to the assembled church by the pastor and deacons. We believe that the Lord’s Supper is a local church ordinance and that only born again believers, baptized by immersion, should partake of this ordinance. The pastor shall explain the meaning of the ordinance, encouraging those present to examine their own lives before partaking. (Close Communion)
Article VIII: OFFICERS
Section 1: Biblical Officers
A. The Biblical Officers of the church shall be pastor and deacons. The offices of pastor and deacon are only open to men; women may serve in the other positions.
B. No person shall be elected to office that has not been a member of this church for at least one year, except the deacons who shall be members for 2 years. All officers and leaders shall be spiritually mature, loyal to the Word of God, faithful in attendance and support of the regular services and business meetings of the church. Their moral conduct shall be beyond reproach and free of carnal indulgences, such as the use of intoxicating beverages, tobacco in all forms, and other worldly practices.
C. All officers shall assume their duties at the conclusion of the annual business meeting. Any officer unable or unwilling to fulfill the duties of his office shall resign or the church may vote to declare the office vacant and shall elect another to fulfill the duties of that office.
Section 2: Pastor
A. The pastor shall be a fundamentalist Baptist minister who meets the qualifications listed in I Timothy 3:1-7, I Peter 5:1-3, and Titus 1:5-9. He shall be a spiritually mature man who evidences a burden for lost souls and who is in agreement with the covenant, constitution and articles of faith of this church.
B. A candidate for the pastorate shall be carefully examined by the pulpit committee as to his salvation, doctrine, Christian conduct, and call to the ministry. If he has service in other churches, his ministry should be explored for evidence of the Lord’s blessing. Pastoral candidates shall have opportunity to question and be questioned by the church membership.
C. A vote to call a candidate as pastor may be taken at a meeting of the church called for that purpose and announced from the pulpit for two Sundays immediately preceding the date of the meeting. Only one candidate shall be considered at any given meeting. A three-fourths majority of those present and voting shall be necessary for a call. The method shall be by secret ballot. The deacons shall inform the candidate of the church’s decision as soon as possible. If favorable, a written notification shall also be sent to the prospective pastor giving details of the church-pastoral relationship, including salary, housing and car allowances insurance, vacations, etc.
D. The pastor shall serve for an indeterminate time, and shall continue as pastor as long as it is mutually agreeable to him and the church. The pastor may announce his resignation at any time but shall not terminate his duties until thirty days after his announcement or at a time mutually agreeable to both him and the church.
E. The pastor shall be the administrative overseer of the church. He shall be responsible for coordinating the church’s programs and ministries. The pastor may call a meeting of the church, deacons or committees at any time and may moderate such meetings. He shall be an ex officio member of all committees.
F. The pastor may be dismissed by a majority vote at a meeting called for that purpose and announced from the pulpit on the two preceding Sundays. If dismissed, the pastor’s duties shall end immediately. He shall receive thirty days salary and have forty-five days use of the parsonage. A special meeting to remove the pastor may be called by a majority of the deacons, or by presentation of a petition to the deacons, containing the names of twenty percent of the active members. If a meeting is called, the pastor shall not be permitted to preach or moderate any meetings within the church until the special meeting has occurred. The method of vote shall be by secret ballot.
Section 3. Deacons/Trustees
A. The church shall elect from its membership at least two qualified men to serve as deacons. They shall be spiritually mature men who have been members of this church for at least two years. They shall be actively engaged in seeking to win the lost, have a good family testimony and shall be in hearty agreement with the policies and standards of Acts 6:3 and I Timothy 3:8-13.
B. The deacons shall assist the pastor in promoting the spiritual welfare of the church, serving as his helpers and counselors. They shall exercise prudent watch care over the church membership, visiting the sick and wayward members, and examining candidates for baptism and membership. They also shall assist with the preparation and distribution of the Lord’s Supper.
C. The deacons shall also serve as the trustees of this church for legal purposes. A person not scripturally qualified to serve as a deacon, may serve solely as a trustee if approved by the church membership. Trustees shall have authority to acquire church property up to the value of three hundred dollars after consultation with treasurer to insure that funds are available. All transactions exceeding that amount shall first be approved by vote of the church except for routine budget matters, or emergencies. Trustees are responsible for the financial accountability of the church and that no indebtedness is incurred without approval of the church membership. The financial accountability to the church membership shall include a detailed report of every expenditure from all church accounts on a monthly basis. The trustees shall also be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the church facilities, equipment and properties.
Section 4. Staff Personnel
A. All staff personnel shall be approved by the pastor, work under his supervision and be in harmony with the program of this church, and in agreement with the constitution of the church.
B. Salaried staff personnel shall be called by majority vote of the church upon the recommendation of the pastor and deacons.
C. Non-salaried staff personnel may be appointed by the pastor with the approval of the deacons.
D. Staff personnel may be dismissed at any time by the pastor and deacons. Salaried personnel shall be paid thirty days salary and shall have forty-five days to vacate church-owned housing. Their duties shall terminate immediately or at the time set by the pastor and deacons.
Section 5: Church Clerk
A. A church clerk shall be elected each year at the annual business meeting. The clerk shall record and maintain a printed record of the minutes of all business meetings of this church, receive and keep on file the quarterly and annual reports from all administrative committees, maintain a current record of membership, baptisms, receptions and dismissals of members.
B. The clerk shall certify annually to the bank the names of officers who are authorized to have access to the safety deposit box and to sign the checks for disbursement of funds.
C. The church clerk shall make available all records, files or documents as aforementioned in section 5A upon request to the pastor, deacons, or church. Upon retirement or removal from office, the clerk shall promptly deliver all records, files and papers belonging to the church to the newly elected clerk or to the deacons.
Section 6: Treasurer
A. A treasurer shall be elected each year at the annual business meeting. He shall be responsible for keeping an accurate and permanent record of all financial transactions of the church funds and shall make monthly, and annual reports to the pastor, deacons, and church.
B. The treasurer shall pay and record all bills and routine expenses approved by the pastor and deacons as well as disburse funds and salaries as directed by the church
Section 7: Financial Secretary
A. The duties of the Financial Secretary shall be to keep an accurate account of all monies received by the church, and to give annual reports to all contributors.
B. A Financial Secretary shall be elected annually.
Section 8: Financial Committee
A. The church shall elect annually up to five members with a minimum of two to serve on the Financial Committee. The financial secretary may serve as a member of the financial committee.
B. It shall be the duty and responsibility of the Financial Committee to count and record the offerings of the church and sign the reports attesting to their accuracy. The Financial Committee shall be responsible for depositing all funds in appropriate accounts at an approved banking facility.
C. The Financial Committee may also be asked to assist the deacons/trustees in the preparation of the annual budget as well as assisting in the procurement of any church purchases.
Article IX: BUSINESS MEETINGS
Section 1. Calling Business Meetings
A. The annual business meeting shall be held during the first quarter of the calendar year on a day set by the pastor and deacons and shall be announced at least two weeks in advance.
B. Special business meetings may be called at any time by the pastor or deacons (with the pastor’s knowledge) or upon written request to the pastor and deacons by twenty percent of the membership.
C. The official church year shall coincide with the calendar year.
D. The pastor may call a meeting of the church at any service to consider emergency non-budgetary expenses.
E. The pastor and deacons shall be the sole architects of the agenda of a meeting.
Section 2. Procedures at Business Meetings
A. All items for church action shall first be submitted to the pastor and deacons for their considerations and recommendation. If an item is rejected by the pastor and deacons, it may be resubmitted with the signatures of ten unrelated, voting members and shall be placed on the agenda of the next annual business meeting.
B. The pastor shall moderate all business meetings, unless he is the subject of the meeting. If the office of the pastor is vacant, the chairman of the deacons shall serve as the moderator.
- The moderator shall have power to determine the rules of order.
- The moderator shall have power to remove unruly members
C. Robert’s Rules of Order shall be the final authority when disagreement arises in procedural matters, unless such matters are covered by this constitution.
Section 3. Voting At Business Meetings
A. The presence of thirty three percent of the voting members shall constitute a quorum except if the meeting is for the purpose of calling or dismissing a pastor, voting on major expenditures, or on approval of any loans. In such case, 50% shall constitute a quorum. The method of vote on these matters shall be by secret ballot. Active members eighteen years of age and older shall be eligible to vote.
B. All elections and matters of business shall be decided by majority vote of members voting unless otherwise stated in this constitution.
C. Election of deacons shall take place at the annual business meeting. Special elections to complete unexpired terms shall be held as the Nominating Committee recommends. Newly elected officers shall assume their responsibilities at the close of the business meeting during which they were elected.
D. Voting rights are limited only to those that are present at the business meeting.
Section 4. Nominating Committee
A. This committee shall be composed of the pastor, and deacons, and two members selected by the deacons from the church at large. No elected officer of the church whose term expires shall be appointed to the Nominating Committee.
B. All nominations shall be submitted in writing to the Nominating Committee for review. Unqualified names shall be dropped from consideration. The committee shall meet with each qualified nominee and secure consent to serve in harmony with the pastor and the constitution of the church, if elected.
C. Names of qualified nominees shall be made public two weeks prior to elections. No nominations shall be made from the floor.
D. The committee shall provide secret ballot forms for all elections.
Section 5. Committees
A. Such committees as may be deemed necessary may be appointed by the pastor and deacons or established by vote of the church for the furtherance of this ministry.
B. Committees shall make available upon request all records and materials to the pastor, deacons, or church. The pastor and deacons shall have the right to overrule any plans or decision made by any committee.
C. No committee or subsidiary organization shall engage in any practice or conduct contrary to the position and policies of this church.
Article X: MISSIONS
Missionaries, mission agencies and organizations desiring to speak in or be supported by this church preferably shall be Baptist in name and practice. They shall be in agreement with the doctrinal position of this church and shall be separated from all forms of apostasy and those who compromise therewith. Missionaries shall be a member of a fundamental Baptist church and can be affiliated with a fundamental Baptist mission agency whose policies and practices are in agreement with those of this church.
Article XI: INUREMENT
There shall be no church monies, properties, or other valuables to inure to the personal benefit of any member or representative of this church.
Article XII: RACIAL NONDISCRIMINATION
The church shall have a racially nondiscriminatory policy and therefore shall not discriminate against members, applicants, and others on the basis of race, color, national, or ethnic origin.
Article XIII: CHURCH DISSOLUTION
Upon the dissolution of the church, the pastor and /or deacons (in the event that the pastor is no longer in office) shall, after paying or making provision for payment of all the liabilities of the church, dispose of all the assets of the church to such organization or organizations established and operated exclusively for religious purposes as shall at the time qualify as an exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (or the corresponding provision of any future United States Internal Revenue Law), as determined by a vote during a church business meeting. Assets may be distributed only to organizations which agree with the church’s Statement of Faith.
Article XIV: AMMENDMENTS
This constitution may be amended, altered, or revised by a three-fourths vote of the members voting at a business meeting of this church called for that purpose. The proposed amendment(s) shall be made available to each member two (2) weeks prior to the said meeting. The church may adopt from time to time such bylaws in amplification hereof as may be necessary or desirable, and shall provide therein for amendment of the same.